This is primarily SEN focused but can any truly inclusive setting should be able to use this as a checklist. Before you start looking at strategies or labeling a child’s actions as challenging ask yourself these questions. They could form an initial discussion with your team.
If you cannot answer Yes to the first 13 stop and rethink your approach.
The Core Questions
Is the child a fully included, valued, and accepted part of the group?
Do they have a chance to share their interests?
Do they lead any activities?
Have you made them welcome?
Do you ever just sit with them and share time and space?
Do they trust you?
Are reactions and interactions always consistent and relentlessly positive?
Do they have a voice?
Is everything predictable?
Do we teach skills to cope with unstructured time?
Do they have their own space or territory?
Is there a safe space to escape to?
Do you always model expected behaviours?
The next steps.
Once those are in place start thinking about these. There should always be ways to develop these aspects of practice.
If they sit apart why, whose decision was it and can they rejoin if they want to?
What decisions can they make and what choices do they have?
Which situations, resources and activities do they have control of and how can we increase the sense of control?
What do they have ownership of in the classroom?
Who are their champions?
How do we present opportunities for sharing and turn taking?
How do you encourage positive relationships?
How do we present instructions?
- how much processing time is provided?
- are directions supported visually?
- are expectations clear?
- do they have the vocabulary to understand the directions?
Are parents part of planning & decision making? (Thanks to Claire Ryan)
Thanks for reading I hope some of these give you food for thought. If you need further support this post may help.